Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Fictional Outrage at Fiction

Inuendo Studios presents an excellent and approachable analysis of the infamous Gamer Gate and its role in later digital radicalization. This video got me thinking about manufactured outrage, which reminded me of the fake outrage over such video games as Cuphead and Doom. This sort of outrage has also manifested against the She-Ra and He-Man [More]

Normative Economics and Economic Justice

[Revised entry by Marc Fleurbaey on September 18, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Distributive justice is often considered not to belong to the scope of economics, but there is actually an important literature in economics that addresses normative issues in social and economic justice. A variety of economic theories and approaches provide many insights in these matters. Presented below are the theory of inequality and poverty measurement, welfare economics, the theory of social choice, the theory of bargaining and of cooperative games, and the theory of fair allocation. There has been a good deal of [More]

Discounting Illicit Benefits

In 'The Means and the Good' (Analysis, forthcoming) Matthew Oliver argues that pluralist consequentialists can accommodate intuitions against using others as a means, on the model of how they can accommodate intuitions about desert:Just as it is bad for Emily to benefit from a stolen manuscript, it is bad for anyone to benefit from the use of another’s body or resources as a means. We can call this impersonal badness an impersonal-use-cost. As with a stolen manuscript, good results that are produced by using another person’s body or resources are heavily offset by an accompanying impersonal-use-cost.By, in effect, discounting illicit benefits, we get the result that killing one to save five does more harm than good.  But we also get the result that killing one to prevent five others from each killing one to save five likewise does more harm than good.  (I think the most natural way to understand this is not to regard the second-order killing as in itself extra bad; the killing is just as intrinsically bad as any other death, the problem is instead that any good that would follow from it -- including the prevention of other wrongful killings -- gets massively discounted.)It's a clever and interesting view!  But it seems really vulnerable to my argument against constraints, namely, that it unacceptably devalues the lives of the innocent victims who might be rescued.  Once an innocent person has been killed in an (even wrongful) attempt to save [More]